Everton extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season as they produced a classy display to deservedly beat Brighton.
Demarai Gray opened the scoring with a fine individual effort four minutes before the break as the Toffees managed a first win at Brighton in five attempts stretching back to April 1983.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his third goal of the campaign from the spot, but only after Richarlison – who wanted to take the penalty – reluctantly gave up the ball.
Seamus Coleman won the penalty after the Everton captain was brought down by Brighton substitute Joel Veltman, and the Republic of Ireland right-back quickly asserted his authority when he convinced Richarlison to hand the ball over to England striker Calvert-Lewin, who converted from 12 yards for the second game in a row.
The result ends Brighton’s 100% start to the season and leaves Everton second in the table, if only until the late game between Liverpool and Chelsea.
It was another positive performance from Everton, who have made an impressive start to life under new boss Rafael Benitez with two wins and a draw from three games -the first time the Spaniard has avoided defeat in his first three league games as a Premier League manager.
The Merseyside club also began the 2020-21 campaign in style with four straight wins under Carlo Ancelotti only to fail to win their next four, so Benitez will be keen to avoid a repeat of his predecessor’s struggles after the international break.
Gray and Calvert-Lewin continue fine form
After a reasonably timid opening quarter, Everton began to open up the Brighton defence with regularity as the tireless Andros Townsend forced a save from Robert Sanchez before Abdoulaye Doucoure shot over after the Seagulls goalkeeper had gifted the ball to Townsend.
Gray made no such mistake, however, as the summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen got his second goal in as many games after surging past Adam Webster to send a low shot beyond Sanchez.
Everton could have doubled their lead just three minutes later, but Calvert-Lewin dragged his shot wide from a tight angle.
Thankfully for the visitors, the 24-year-old found his range to confidently smash his penalty past Sanchez and wrap up the points. Setback for wounded Seagulls
Having put two past Burnley and Watford in their first two games, this was a disappointing setback for Brighton, who failed to click in attack.
The hosts managed only three shots on target, and while Leandro Trossard and Yves Bissouma looked sharp at times, Jordan Pickford was largely untroubled in the Everton goal, with Neal Maupay well-marshalled by the away side’s defence.
The French striker had hoped to become the first player to score in each of Brighton’s first three league games in a single campaign since Nicky Forster in 2008-09, but was unable to create a clear-cut chance up against a solid Everton defence.
After such a smooth start to the campaign, there will be plenty to ponder for Brighton boss Graham Potter before the return to action after the international break, with the Seagulls travelling to Brentford on Saturday, 11 September (15:00 BST), while Everton host Burnley two days later (20:00 BST).
Source – News365.co.za